Herschel Space Observatory preparations

Herschel Space Observatory preparations

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Caption: Herschel Space Observatory (HSO) preparations for launch. The HSO is a space telescope built by the European Space Agency. Here, the mirror is seen in front of the sunshield as the spacecraft is prepared for integration with the fairing (upper casing) of the launch rocket. This space telescope is being used to study the formation of galaxies and stars, and to investigate the composition of the atmosphere of extrasolar planets, and of interstellar molecular clouds. It was launched on 14 May 2009 from the Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana. Photographed on 10 May 2009.

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